Some Tiny Thoughts on Patents

Now that Honeywell is suing Nest, the whole patent issue is coming back in the software community again. A tweet conversation I had with Ben Bleikamp ended with this:

I’m not a fan of patents mostly because they’re now being used to stifle and intimidate than to protect. I would much rather see all patents be dismissed than add any more strength to the patent system.

I do wonder, though, what the economic impact would be of dismantling and destroying the patent system. A lot is focused on the innovation that would be possible if people were not afraid of getting destroyed by a larger company (looking at the Nest vs Honeywell situation, you can understand that), but I think it would be interesting to look at the other issues it would cause.

Licensing agreements go away. Partnerships born out of mutual destruction go away. There is a lot of economic destruction that would need to happen if it did happen. Is it good? Is it bad?

I don’t know, I just hope that cooler heads prevail.